KIRKWOOD -- The most anticipated Ladue boys basketball season in nearly a decade got off to a rousing start, Monday night at Vianney High School, as the Rams walloped the archrival Clayton Greyhounds, 64-45, in a first-round game of the 46th Annual Jerry Boeckman Memorial Tournament.
The Boeckman Tourney, which is also known as the Vianney Invitational Tournament, features several other top local teams, including Belleville West, Eureka, and Hazelwood Central -- teams that also won on Monday.
But the marquee matchup of the night, was the evening nightcap between the longtime enemy Rams and Greyhounds.
Ladue though, took all the suspense out of the game quickly, as it jumped out to a big lead in the opening minutes, and didn't let up until it lead Clayton by as many as 26 points late in the third quarter.
"That's really how you love to start off a season," Ladue head coach Chad Anderson said. "I thought we really kind of set the tone in that first 2-3 minutes of the game, with our defense. We also were able to establish our inside game. So it was just a great start, no doubt about it."
The Rams played so well early, that standout starters Austin DaGue, Cornell Johnston, and Andrew Maddock didn't even really have to play much in the second half.
In fact, all three sat most of the fourth quarter, as other teammates came off the bench and took turns making plays to put Clayton away.
DaGue did lead all scorers with 11 points. Johnston had 9, while Maddock joined two others (Jordan Cosby and Van Klohmann) with 8 points.
Johnston, Ladue's top returning scorer with 16.9 points a game last season, did most of his damage passing the ball, as he registered 10 assists in the first half, and finished the night with 11 assists total.
"It was just a good night," Anderson said. "We had 11 guys score for us tonight. Everybody got to play, and I really like that we were able to get our guys a feel for what it's like to play in a varsity game."
The leading scorer for Clayton was junior Chanz Watkins, who had 10 points, with teammate Varun Chakravarthy adding eight points off the bench.
The 'Hounds, who won their season opener last week at Fox, are now 1-1 on the season, and will play University City in the Boeckman Memorial consolation semifinals on Tuesday at Vianney.
Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to the consolation championship game on Thursday.
Ladue (1-0), the No. 3 seed in this year's Boeckman Memorial event, will play No. 2 seed Eureka in the winner's bracket semifinals, Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m.
"I got to see them a little bit tonight," Anderson said. "They're a good team. They're big. They're physical. It's gonna be a tough challenge for us against them."
The winner of that matchup will play the winner of Wednesday's other semifinal, Hazelwood Central versus Belleville West, in the Boeckman Memorial championship game, Friday night at Vianney at 6:30 p.m.
The two semifinal losers will meet in the third-place game, Friday at 5 p.m.
Score by Quarters ............. 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 -- Final Score
Clayton ............................. 8 .. 15 .. 7 .. 15 -- 45
Ladue ............................... 20 . 19 . 17 .. 8 -- 65
First Round of Vianney Tournament